After a so-called skin-sparing mastectomy, in which most of the natural skin envelope is preserved, or in the case of fairly small breasts, we elect to reconstruct the breast with an expander implant. After filling the expander, a silicone implant is inserted in a second operation and the healthy breast is corrected, if necessary. This relatively simple and safe method of breast reconstruction is the most common technique used worldwide.
Both these operations are performed in an inpatient setting, under a general anaesthetic.
We place an expander prosthesis under the pectoral muscle and usually have to insert a drainage tube, which can be removed after 1 to 2 days. We are able to avoid additional scarring by inserting the prosthesis through the old scar. Absorbable sutures are used so there is no need to have any stitches removed.
Two weeks after the operation we can begin filling the expander. You will need to come to the surgery every 1 to 2 weeks for this painless filling procedure. When the volume of the existing breast is adjusted, the 2nd operation to insert the actual implant can be planned. In cases where the breasts are very asymmetrical they can be corrected during the same operation. After the operation, a bra should be worn day and night for around 6 weeks and sporting activities such as jogging and riding should be avoided during this period.
The nipple can be reconstructed in a further operation.
The implant that is inserted into the body is surrounded by a fine sheath of connective tissue. Thickening of this sheath may very occasionally result in capsular fibrosis. Any secondary bleeding, infections and unsightly scars are easily treatable.